Culture

I called Hugh Hefner a pimp, he threatened to sue. But that’s what he was

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Now that he’s dead, the old sleaze in the Playboy mansion is being spoken of as some kind of liberator of women. Quite the opposite Suzanne Moore The Guardian Long ago, in another time, I got a call from a lawyer. Hugh Hefner was threatening a libel action against me and the paper I worked for at the time, for something I had written. Journalists live in dread of such calls. I had called Hefner a pimp. To me this ... Read More »

Universities are broke. So let’s cut the pointless admin and get back to teaching

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The meaningless tasks and faux-business strategies prioritised by British universities have skewed their real role André Spicer The Guardian As students have been celebrating their exam results, pundits from across the political spectrum have been commiserating the state of British universities. Andrew Adonis, an education minister during the Blair years, has excoriated universities for offering costly courses while jacking up the pay of their senior leaders. Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s ex-advisor, thinks UK universities are an unsustainable “Ponzi scheme”. The ... Read More »

‘We’re Headed Toward One of the Greatest Divisions in the History of the Jewish People’

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A small, vocal group of Conservative rabbis is pushing the movement to accept marriages between Jews and non-Jews. Emma Green  The Atlantic The fight is really about the future of the religion. In late June, 19 rabbis gathered in New York City for an urgent meeting. It wasn’t secret, exactly, but it certainly wasn’t public. The Jewish leaders—all members of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, except for two—were there to decide what to do about… •‘We’re Headed Toward… Read More »

UN agency ranks Australia 39 out of 41 countries for quality education

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Australia has been ranked 39 out of 41 high- and middle-income countries in achieving quality education, in the latest international report to find that the country is falling behind in basic measures of… Pallavi Singhal The Age Only Romania and Turkey were ranked below Australia in education in the latest United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report… The report looks at the performance of 15-year-olds in reading, maths and… UN agency ranks… Read More »

Bernard-Henri Levy: ‘I’ve always found it quite shocking and beautiful to speak to one’s enemy’

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Interview / ‘Coming to the aid of the other is an unconditional commandment’ On recent trip to Israel, French-Jewish intellectual promoted his new book on Judaism and explained what it’s like to be a modern-day Jonah By PIERRE-SIMON ASSOULINE The Times of Israel French-Jewish celebrity intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy was in Israel recently for a whirlwind of events which included the promotion of his new book on Judaism and the presentation of a new documentary on the Iraqi city of… Bernard-Henri ... Read More »

Universities the biggest winners from China’s top 100 philanthropists

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Beijing: China’s billionaires have been so busy making money that they haven’t had time to spend it – and universities are winning from a resulting boom in… Kirsty Needham Brisbane Times China’s 2017 top 100 philanthropist list shows the trend for the country’s wealthiest property developers, finance and technology tycoons to make big charitable donations is… Almost half (44 per cent) of donations in 2017 were made to universities, up from a third (27 per cent) three years ago, according… Universities the biggest… Read More »

12 incredible psychological tricks to get people to do what you want

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There are plenty of ways to get people to do what you want — without them even realizing you’ve persuaded them. The Power of Ideas Ideapod blog  Whether you want people to like you, to agree with you, or to buy your products, use these tips to feel more powerful in your everyday interactions 1) The Conversation Conditioner You can have real fun with this trick. When talking to… 12 incredible psychological… Read More »

New nation-branding plan needed for Arab world

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It is crucial for the Arab world to put together a committee of the best experts and partners to create programs and initiatives that will promote Arab culture globally. Mark C. Donfried  Arab News An Arab News poll conducted from March 17-22 proved the negative perception of the Arab world, especially in the US, and the urgent need for new nation-branding initiatives. The poll results were published and announced on May 2 at the… New nation-branding… Read More »

Humanities teach students to think. Where would we be without them?

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Following announced funding cuts in US universities, is it entirely paranoid to wonder if humanities are under attack because they enable students to think? Francine Prose The Guardian Humanities departments in America are once again being axed. The reasons, one hears, are economic rather than ideological. It’s not that schools don’t care about the humanities – they just can’t afford… Humanities teach students… Read More »

Why should immigrants speak perfect English when Australians can’t?

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How does Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expect migrants to achieve functional standards of speech when most Australians can’t even pronounce the… Dean Frenkel The Sydney Morning Herald While it appears that Turnbull has been motivated to attract more Pauline Hanson voters with his new citizenship test requirements, he is attacking the… We have a serious communication skills problem in Australia glued to a… Why should immigrants… Read More »

Trump Administration Must Act To Address The Plight of Christians In The Middle East

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This week, Christians around the world mark the holiest week in their religious calendar, observing the Passion, crucifixion, and… Brian Katulis Elizabeth H. Prodromou The Huffington Post This sober time of reflection and prayer comes in the midst of continued threats to Christians in the Middle East – most recently in the Palm Sunday bombings at two churches in… Over the past decade, some of the oldest Christian communities have… Trump Administration Must… Read More »

History: How African Muslims “Civilized Spain”

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  Today marks the anniversary of the end of nearly 700 years of African Muslim rule over Spain, Portugal and Southern France. Garikai Chengu Global Research Four hundred and eight years ago today King Phillip III of Spain signed an order, which was one of the earliest examples of ethnic cleansing. At the height… History: How African… Read More »

Rejoining EU could be ‘speedy’ for independent Scotland

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An independent Scotland could enjoy a “relatively speedy” process to join the European Union, a senior MEP has… Katrine Bussey The Scotsman German politician Elmar Brok said there would not be many obstacles to Scotland becoming an EU member because the country already meets the criteria for… His comments come just days after Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso… Rejoining EU could… Read More »

Recognising Aboriginal Australia is still in the too-hard basket

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Julia Gillard started it, Tony Abbott vowed to “sweat blood” to finish it, and Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are committed to it, but the task in question is proving more daunting than… Michael Gordon Brisbane Times More than six years after Australia began a process to finally recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution, there is a very real prospect that… Recognising Aboriginal Australia… Read More »

A lost history of cultural tolerance

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Unbeknownst to many, Qur’anic calligraphy still adorns stone pillars of certain Sicilian churches. Zaid M. Belbagi Arab News The best-known example is the “Bismillah” motif engraved into a column at La Martorana Cathedral in Palermo. Such pillars were… A lost history of… Read More »

April Fool’s Day: Why are some people more gullible than others?

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Homo sapiens is probably an intrinsically gullible species. Joseph Paul Forgas ABC We owe our evolutionary success to culture, our unique ability to receive, trust and act on stories we get from others, and so accumulate a shared view about the world. In a way… April Fool’s Day… Read More »